Trumpeter Scott Tinkler and drummer Simon Barker are not only well-kept Australian secrets, both musicians have a kind of organic interplay that is quite exceptional. Their music is improvised, raw and straight from the heart. Listen also to "Lost Thoughts" for a duo performance.
On this interesting album, they team up with Korean pansori singer Bae Il Dong, whose singing will take many listeners by surprise, as it is quite unusual. He kind of sings and shouts at the same time, spitting out his lungs, his heart, his entire system, in a way that is quite difficult to fathom, yet resonates deeply. What does he sing? Is he singing incantations? Is he bemoaning a lost love? Is he angry? Is his singing spiritual? Possibly a combination of all those : blues and spiritual and tribal.
The idea for the music comes from drummer Simon Barker's fascination with South-Korean shamanistic drumming, a skill which he mastered over the years, and can be described as "powerfully relaxed". It my opinion, it is a sheer delight to hear him play.
Tinkler is an equally incredibly good trumpeter. His dialogues with Bae Il Dong are nothing short of unique, offering not only a great mirror of sounds to the singer, in counterpoint or just pushing the intensity, he can also set the rhyhtm with great staccato blasts, or falling back on intimate sounds.
The most unique element is the Korean's voice though, and the album's title, Chiri, refers to the mountain area where the singer spent many years in isolation singing at waterfalls in order to reveal "the voices". It may require transcending some preconceived notions about singing at first, and that's a good thing.
All comparisons are wrong by definition, but the album comes close in spirit to Norwegian's Jorgensen and Isungset on "Agbalagba Daada" : same instruments, equally shamanistic, equally improvised and free, other continent.
Listen and download from iTunes.
Below you find a trailer for the documentary by Emma Franz "Intangible Asset Number 82" which shows the journey of Simon Barker to Korea to hear and learn from shaman master Kim Seok-Chul.